Steve Kerr on Iverson, Nash, Durant and the most influential players

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Steve Kerr has spent the past three decades in the NBA as a player, a national TV analyst, a general manager and a coach.

The former sharpshooter has won seven championships -- five as a player and two as a coach. He was teammates with some of history's greats, including Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. He was coached by two of the best to ever roam the sidelines in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich.

He currently coaches four All-Stars -- Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green -- utilizing a free-flowing offensive system that has changed the way the game is played.

As ESPN ranks the most influential players of all time this week, there aren't many people more qualified to speak on the subject than Kerr, who came in at No. 76 on our list. Kerr told ESPN that his list of the greatest game-changers includes Jordan, Jackson, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. Here are his thoughts on a few of them and how they impacted the game:

Kerr on Iverson:

"The crossover, in my mind, changed the way players played. Before Iverson, his move was a carry, and guys had to keep their hand on top of the ball. So he was groundbreaking with that move because it was a hesitation into the crossover that nobody had really done before.

"Tim Hardaway's crossover was nasty, but it was perfectly legal. The way he did it, there wasn't that hesitation. So what Iverson did, nobody had ever seen it before, and it was a borderline carry. And to me, what happened, he was popular and exciting to watch. I think the league sort of realized we don't want to call a carry. I think the league literally looked at it and said, 'What do we do with this?'

"The guys you watch now and the whole game is based on hesitation and disruption of ballhandling. So Iverson literally changed the rules without ever saying anything. By just playing the way he did and doing the things he did, changed a whole generation if you watch every player that comes up."

Kerr on Nash:

"Steve Nash took [the crossover] from Iverson and went through the legs, a little hesitation. The ball is in the left hand, and now you've got options. You can rise up and shoot, crossover, or you can keep going.

"The reason I have Nash in there is because I think he made it cool again to pass, and he also helped influence the next generation of point guards. Like, he influenced Steph Curry, and I'd guarantee you Steph would agree. And every point guard that I watch now, I see a little bit of Steve. Setting up the game with the 3-point shot, the hesitation, the penetration and the ability to find shooters. Not to mention pace-and-space offense that Steve ran in Phoenix that everybody has sort of gravitated towards."

Kerr on MJ and LeBron:

"The reason I have Michael and LeBron on there, first of all, I think they're the two best players of all time. And I think LeBron, like Michael, has been such a force socially. Michael was more a force in terms of paving the way for athletes and basketball players in general to become spokesmen and spokeswomen for products, and LeBron has also gone down that path, but he's also been a force for social change.

"He's been very outspoken at a time when more and more athletes and coaches are doing so. I think LeBron has set a tone. He's been a game-changer for a lot of reasons. He's a phenomenal player, but I put him in there more for what he has meant to social activism and athletes and for the willingness to speak out."

Kerr on Durant:

"I think he changed the way young bigs have looked at the game. Before, bigs, 6-foot-10, 6-foot-11 guys -- KD can call himself 6-foot-9 or whatever he is -- coaches would plunk them down on the block. Go score on the block, run the floor, set screens. So all of a sudden, here comes this guy, KD, who is probably inspired by Dirk, and yet took what Dirk did to a new level with his ballhandling and athleticism.

"But the fact that you can now have 6-foot-11 guys playing point guard and shooting 3s, I think KD was groundbreaking, and now you see Giannis and you see Anthony Davis and you see Karl-Anthony Towns. KD, that's where he made a mark changing the league."